Nobody wants to imagine their child sitting around the campfire feeling left out because the graham crackers for the S’mores may contain nuts or having to skip the big ice cream sundae party because of a milk allergy. That’s why it’s SO awesome that there are food allergy-friendly summer camps where nobody has to worry — especially anxious Moms and Dads back home, holding their breath every time the phone rings.
We couldn’t be happier to report that there are so many food allergy-friendly camps, we could never squeeze them all into a single post.
Here are our Top 10 favorites from across the U.S. and Canada …
- Camp Emerson (Berkshire Mountains, MA) supports dairy, nut, wheat, soy, egg, and fish allergies — and gluten free foods are always available. Families can even work directly with a Registered Dietician to prepare a safe menu for their child.
- Brant Lake Camps (Brant Lake, NY) are nut-free, sesame-free and shellfish-free facilities but they can also support most special diets and food allergies. There’s an on-site physician and nursing staff, too.
- Point O’Pines Camp for Girls (Brant Lake, NY) is a completely nut-free camp but the chef also accommodates other food allergies and requirements.
- Camp Blue Spruce (Banks, OR) only serves meals and snacks free of top allergens like dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, soy, gluten and sesame, and they have a medical staff on hand 24 hours a day.
- Camp Wingate*Kirkland (Yarmouth Port, MA) is nut-free and sesame-free but they also accomdate allergies to dairy, wheat, soy, egg, and fish. They’ll even loop in families to ensure all food is ingredient-checked before being sent to a bunk.
- Camp TAG (Lebanon, OH, Atlanta, GA, Big Bear City, CA, Williamstown, NJ, Hinsdale, MA) is actually run by FAACT (Food Allergy Awareness Connection Team) is a safe place for kids with food allergies, eosinophilic disorders, asthma, and non-allergic siblings.
- B’nai Brith Camp (Kenora, ON, Canada) does not allow any products containing fish, peanuts or tree nuts and menus are planned to accomodate several food allergies and Celiac disease. Counsellors are trained in allergen prevention and in recognizing the signs of anaphylaxis.
- Camp Walden (Diamond Point, NY) is entirely nut-free and there’s a dedicated chef who handles other special food requirements like milk, sesame, and soy allergies as well as vegetarian, Celiac and lactose-free diets. The owners/directors have a child with a severe peanut allergy so they understand!
- Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer (Fombell, PA) can accomodate all food allergies, including but not limited to nuts, gluten, soy, milk, and corn. The dining facilities are completely nut-free.
- Camp Sweeney (Gainesville, TX) is run by the Children’s Medical Center for Food Allergy and you won’t find the top eight allergens — milk, egg, wheat, soy, peanut, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish — anywhere at all. The menus are also individually tailored to each camper’s needs.
Now we’re only listing 10 food allergy-friendly camps here, but a bit of Googling will pull up many, many more camps that are happy to accommodate kids with food allergies.
Once you find a camp that looks like it fits the bill, we suggest calling them to set up an appointment — even a telephone call or video chat — to discuss your child’s specific allergies. Ask as many specific questions as you want about meal preparation, snacks, servings, cross-contamination — you name it. Make sure you get a good feeling about the camp’s safety procedures. (How would they handle an allergic reaction? What kind of medical professionals are on site? Where is the nearest hospital?)
A good camp will be happy to answer all of your questions to ensure your child has a safe, amazing experience this summer.